Nicholas Payton: When the Saints Go Marching In


When the Saints Go Marching In


Nicholas Payton (trumpet)


Gumbo Noveau (Verve 314 531 199)

Buy Track


Nicholas Payton (trumpet), Jesse Davis (alto sax), Reuben Rogers (bass),

Tim Warfield (tenor sax), Anthony Wonsey (piano), Adonis Rose (drums)




Recorded: New York, November 28-30, 1995


Rating: 91/100 (learn more)

Contrary to what you might think, Dixieland bands hate playing this tune. Back in the 1960s, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band demanded a five dollar tip before they would even consider performing it, but would only require one buck for "Clarinet Marmalade." One solution for jaded trad players is to banish it from the repertoire—send those saints marching out—but the other approach is to follow Payton's formula. Change the chords and rhythms so that it becomes an entirely new song. Nothing remains of the original progression on this recording. You won't hear any trad band try this kind of reharmonization, and along with the eight-to-the-bar long count feel of the pulse, the result is a version of "Saints" that sounds more at home in Rio than the French Quarter. Payton's trumpet work is big, brassy and beautiful, and stands in marked contrast to the work of those horn players who think that you need to run roughshod over a tune if you want to play it in real N'awlins style. But this artist is a big enough talent to reinvent the tradition and refract it through his own personal aesthetic, as he demonstrates once again on this track.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

Tags: · ·

Comments are closed.